In what has been a worrisome 24 hours in the Irish Covid news cycle, the Irish Government has rejected NPHET's advice to move the country to Level 5 restrictions, opting instead that the entire country will move to Level 3 restrictions from midnight on Tuesday
Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced on Monday even that Ireland was to move to Level three restrictions until October 27th.
The Taoiseach confirmed that the government decided not to enter further into lockdown measures by moving to Level 5. Ireland will instead enter Level 3 for a period of three weeks.
The situation will be reviewed again once this period ends.
“This is not about public health and businesses competing against each other, it’s about lives and livelihoods. We can’t have one without the other,” Martin said.
He said the virus was spreading because people were allowing it to spread, but added that an immediate and more comprehensive lockdown would make it harder to deal with non-Covid health concerns.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 5, 2020
However, in his letter to Government, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan (who was not at the briefing on Monday night) said the Level 3 move would not have the effect needed to curb the rise in cases, "A graduated approach will not have sufficient or timely impact on the trajectory and scale of the disease and will not protect the core priorities… [and] would, ultimately, result in application of Level 5 measures as mitigation."
The Government ultimately went against this advice.
Severe restrictions now would have a damaging impact on these and as a result, the Government had decided at this stage "not to move to a more comprehensive lockdown”, Martin added.
“If we act now we can stop the need to go further."
Level 3 restrictions
- No more than six people from no more than two households can meet in a home or garden.
- No social/family gatherings should take place, aside from funerals and weddings.
- There are no indoor gatherings permitted. Outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people are allowed.
- All retail shops and shopping centres can stay open. People aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.
- Indoor dining in pubs and restaurants will be banned
- Outdoor seating and service will be allowed outside restaurants, bars and wet pubs.
- Pubs that do not serve food outside Dublin will be allowed to open but they will only be able to provide an outdoor service to a maximum of 15 people. ‘Wet’ pubs in Dublin will still remain closed.
There were 518 new cases of Covid reported in the Republic on Monday.
Main photograph: Unsplash